December 01, 2015

The Missouri Conference needs new leaders. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the old ones, but there are many leadership opportunities at the Conference level, and the committee that is tasked with filling those positions needs everyone to nominate people who would be good for the role. 
    
“We need to have great leaders in the Conference, not just in local churches,” said Rev. Jeremy Vickers, chair of the nominating committee.         
    
“When we have as many names as possible, that gives us an opportunity to do the research, pray and consider how to best fill the slate for the positions.” 
    
Anyone can nominate any United Methodist in Missouri into the nominations pool. The nominee will then take an online spiritual gifts assessment. When complete, this assessment may also be of use to the local church in helping the person find the right leadership position in the church. The nominees also provide references – for laity – the reference is the nominee’s pastor. For clergy, it is the nominee’s district superintendent. 
    
“This process gives people an opportunity to step up and be a bigger part of the mission beyond the local church,” said committee member Larry Johnson. 
    
Franklin Walker now serves on the nominations committee, and has had several other leadership positions in the Missouri Conference, but those roles have come later in life.     
    
“It took 30 years for me to be introduced,” Walker said. “When I retired, my church told me that since I was retired, I could go to Annual Conference. Once I got there, the next thing I knew I was going all over the place. Before that I didn’t have any idea of how things worked at the Conference level.” 
    
Although the nominations committee meets every year, 2016 is a Quadrennial year. This means that many leaders will have completed their term, and some have reached term limits. “There are many slots that need to be filled with new people,” said Mid-State District Superintendent Sherry Habben, who serves on the committee. “Also, we will have a new bishop assigned to us next year, and it is important to have strong leaders in place during that transition.” 
    
Habben mentioned that the people on the nominating committee are well acquainted with many clergy, but may only know a limited number of laity outside of their own church, so help is needed to build a larger pool of leaders. 
    
“When more people are nominated online, that helps us to be able to be attentive to issues of diversity,” Habben said. 
    
To nominate someone to the leadership pool, go to www.moumethodist.org/nominate.